A newspaper is raided for printing the truth

The China Letter: June 20, 2021

The heat from the national security law is on in Hong Kong after Beijing bites back at Western world leaders who expressed concerns behind their back, while a growing trend in China finds 20-somethings opting to steer clear of social pressure. Plus, a new rival to Uber has been rising in the East, and the weird scenes awaiting the Winter Olympics.

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Biting right into the core

Apple Daily media tycoon Jimmy Lai could face life in prison if found guilty on national security charges, and now four of his Hong Kong newspaper employees were similarly arrested. Jack Ma, the billionaire Alibaba founder who’s also faced the wrath of Beijing in the past year, has continued to stay out of the spotlight—and he’s taken up painting.

Countdown to conflicts

China was a major conversation topic as world leaders gathered for the first time amidst the pandemic, as G7 and NATO summits discussed the abuses of Uyghur Muslims and anti-democracy crackdowns in Hong Kong. From a distance in Beijing, the Western group was condemned for playing police from outside of their jurisdictions:

China’s embassy in London said the discussions reflected “sinister intentions of a few countries such as the United States” in portraying them as slanderous. Joe Biden doubled down in saying that America needs to stand up to threats from autocratic governments around the world, even though European leaders sound more cautious.

The cultural involution

Based on recent media attention, expect to hear more about the tang ping movement, which translates as “lying flat.” Young people in China are evidently rejecting the “9-9-6” culture of working 12 hours a day six days a week in favour of getting by with the bare minimum, even though “involution” isn’t necessarily a long-term state of mind:

Riding the future of Didi

Didi’s status as the Uber of China is something it hopes to build on by facilitating services beyond providing cars to ride in: bicycles, movers, personal finance, grocery shopping and gas stations are all in its sights as it files for an initial public offering in the U.S. It beat and bought Chinese operations of Uber ahead of more global ambitions.

The last words, for now

American politicians from both the left and the right have continued to call for the relocation of the 2022 Winter Olympics from Beijing, or otherwise face a boycott. But the International Olympic Committee says it’s not a “super world government” that can solve the issues. And so, those plans continue to unfold in a fascinating fashion:

The China Letter is produced by the Canadian Freedom Institute, a think tank based in Canada. We produce the China Letter every week to keep you informed and to press the ideas of free markets and free people not only in China but around the world. Please consider donating to keep this newsletter running!

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